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Do you memorize poems ?


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I'm going to try and learn Dulce et decorum est by Wilfred Owen off by heart:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

And Funeral Blues by WH Auden:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

I like depressing poems. :D


Although I would also like to learn William Blake's Auguries of Innocence it may be a bit much for me.. I'm just concentrating on Dulce et decorum est at the moment.

I find that as you speak the poems out loud to try and memorise them the words take on a new meaning. Particularly with the first poem, you can almost feel as if you're standing in the trenches with the way each syllable slips off the tongue and joins the next. Plus you can experiment with different ways to say the poems out loud in terms of pace and tone, and place emphasis on different words to give each sentence a different meaning - it's rather fun!

I would love to be able to speak poetry like this:

Edited by Angury
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  • 1 year later...

I love the psalms.. kjv is the only translation that makes the poetic nature of it come in full color. I do want to memorize all 150 to be honest. I need to put in the work. Well then... I'll be back

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  • 3 weeks later...

The only poem I ever memorized was for extra credit in a high school English class. I will always remember because I blanked out on the last half of it in front of everyone and my teacher wouldn't allow me to go back to my seat until I remembered the rest. Eventually he realized that there was no way I was going to continue so he let me sit down. But I still had to stand for close to five minutes in silence. Therefore I hesitate to try memorizing any more.

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  • 2 weeks later...


I think I'd like to remember some poems that have stuck with me just for my own pleasure of mind. There are poems that have really resonated with me at certain points in my life, and it'd be nice to have those in the back of my mind...

Feel the same but I can only memorize people and conversations...which is not that bad. For anything else, there is always internet to remind you.

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Hm, I learned a few poems as a teenager, but I'm not doing that anymore. I need my mental capacities for other stuff. :P


But I still can do most of the Raven, Hymn of Baal the Great, Love Lost and some Taylor Mali.

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  • 1 year later...

Poems hit me where I live. I read poetry as much as I read novels, or plays, or biographies.  The ones I really like I memorize.

I recite them to myself when I'm standing in line for something or am generally bored. so I won't forget them.

Limericks are poems too. And they are great fun to memorize. Here are some of my favorites:


A tutor who tooted the flute

Tried to tutor two tooters to toot.

Said the two to the tutor

Is it harder to toot

Or to tutor two tooters to toot?


There was a young lady from Niger

Who smiled as she sat on a tiger

They came back from the ride

With the lady inside

And the smile on the face of the tiger


Titian was mixing rose madder

His model posed nude on a ladder

Her position, to Titian

Suggested coition

So he nipped up the ladder and 'ad her.


There once was a man from Cape Cod,

who was known for his sizable rod.

Though he's not one to boast,

it can be seen from the coast,

and the man from Nantucket was awed.


On the breast of a bar maid from Hale

Was tattooed the price of the ale

And upon her behind

For the sake of the blind

Was the same information in Braille.


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I went through a period when I tried to memorize some poems. For most of my life the only verse I could remember was the Lord's Prayer and how to say grace, both from primary and middle school.


Some of the poems I attempted to memorize were:


  • Ozymandius
  • Invictus
  • If
  • Let Me to the Marriage of True Minds...
  • Partes Quies
  • I Am
  • The Rolling English Road
  • Dulce et Decorum Est
  • The King's Breakfast
  • Leisure
  • Blue Remembered Hills
  • Psalm 23
  • Ode to a Mouse

I suppose I should check if I can still remember them.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/23/2014 at 10:49 AM, chesilbeach said:

I don't even read poetry, much less memorise it, but I do know the first verse of She Walks In Beauty by Byron, just because it was part of scene in an episode of The Cosby Show that I've seen about a hundred times! Sorry, I'm a bit of a philistine when it comes to poetry, and I just don't understand it - nobody has ever been able to give me any sort of appreciation for it, so I'll just stick to the prose.  :out:



All I can tell you is that poetry is personal. You are not a Philistine, you just haven't found poems that turn you on.  When you do you'll be amazed.



"""Then read from the treasured volume 
      The poem of thy choice, 
And lend to the rhyme of the poet 
      The beauty of thy voice. 
And the night shall be filled with music, 
      And the cares, that infest the day, 
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, 
      And as silently steal away. "
From a longer poem called The Day is Done by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Edited by Litwitlou
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I'm not big on poetry. I think it has to do with my professors making us rip every line apart to find the "meaning" when all I wanted to do was enjoy the darn thing. BUT I read somewhere that memorizing poetry is good for warding off ALZ. Keeps the brain engaged or something. I do plan to do more with it now that I'm no longer beholden to dissect it. I also plan to break out my Shakespeare and try my hand at memorizing some stanzas.

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